What Marketers Think About Marketing Automation (Part 1)

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So you might have figured out that we’re going to talk a lot about marketing automation in the coming months. And there’s a good reason for that! 🙂 That being said, we also want you to talk to us about your experiences with automating your marketing. So far we’ve collected very interesting comments and tips from some of the marketers experienced in using some kind of marketing automation.

And we want to share their thoughts with you!

But before we get started, let’s answer an important question – why does marketing automation matter?

It can be used in various marketing channels – not only emails and lead management, but also social media, SEO, PPC, and what have you. It’s a huge subject to discuss, so to help us start a broader conversation around it, we asked actual marketers on Twitter about their best tips, no-nos, and trends aimed at using marketing automation.

Here’s the first portion, yes the first, as we have a lot more in store. Without further ado, check out what marketers have to say:

(Pssst, if you would like to contribute your own experiences and tips on using marketing automation, let us know in the comments or tweet at @getresponse using the #GRAutomationHub hashtag)

 

“Set and forget” doesn’t work

 

 

This seems like a huge issue – people tend to treat marketing automation as a “one and done”. To be fair, it might look like that at first. When you get started, there’s quite a lot of work to set up appropriate automation workflows and to cover the multiple touch points and funnel stages of the customer lifecycle. But once you do all that complicated stuff, you can just sit back and relax and it will all work on its own… Right?

Well, not exactly. Automation is great in the sense that it takes a lot of work off your plate and helps deal with loads of data, but it will never do the whole job for you.

It’s not enough to just start a relationship using automation. You need to nurture those relationships and continue the communication. Finally, you need to be prepared to react as a human – not only if there’s a need to adjust your automation rules, but also to personally reply to a customer or to verify their status to make sure they’re actually receiving communication that’s a reflection of their interests or the stage of the funnel they’re at.

In other words, for a successful marketing automation program, a robust platform is a must, but so is a smart marketer who knows how to use it.

 

Be human

 

 

Automation is not something you’d associate with a human approach. It probably brings to mind robots and the like, definitely not real people. After all, it’s meant to replace them, right? Again, not necessarily. Like I said, you can’t set and forget. Automation requires both flexibility, which robots don’t (yet) have and that human touch that’s irreplaceable.

This is especially true for social media where automation is often frowned upon. If you do it right – meaning, use it to start a conversation and then engage in it to continue – it can actually help managing your social media communications and reaching out to the right people.

Today there are tools that can both help you automate your social media communications in a smart way – and I don’t only mean scheduling your tweets and Facebook posts or sending the (much hated by some) automated DMs. Automation will help you find the right people at scale and engage them in a conversation. But you will have to continue the convo yourself – no automation software will ever know how to respond to a question or a comment (well, at least not in a satisfying, personal way).

 

 

And I don’t only mean the – rather controversial – question of whether automated communication should try to mimic personally written messages (let me expand on that interesting issue in another post), but also the actual writing of personal messages to people when there’s a need (see the previous section). After all, we’re not talking about pretending to be human, but actually being human, right?

 

Follow your customer’s journey

Automation is a great tool to help you make use of the different touch points between your brand and the potential customer – and adjust the communication at every stage of the funnel. And we all know that relevancy is the top priority when it comes to marketing communications.

There’s a whole lot of data around each of your customers you can use to help close the deal – and a good automation tool will help you gather all of this and connect the dots. And then act on your finding to increase conversions. There we go to number one again.

 

 

Marketing automation will also help you measure your efforts and optimize them, showing you which actions at what point get traction and lead to better results and what should be improved. Perhaps you should pay more attention to winning back disengaged customers. Or is it engaging them for the first time that you should put more focus on?

Your customer’s whole journey is comprised of multiple points where they engage with your brand – a marketing automation platform will help you define all of these points, map your communication to reflect them, and make sure you see the results and can take proper action.

 

What does the future hold?

Statistics show marketing automation will continue to grow. Looks like it’s also what marketers think:

 

 

And no wonder, since the results are promising. Marketing automation is a machine you can deploy to help you map your customer’s journey. What’s more, multiple marketing automation platforms are trying to make this process as easy and user friendly as possible, so that it’s not only there for big companies, who employ thousands of staff, but also available for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs who want to improve their results.

I have lots more interesting comments saved on my hard drive, so expect even more thoughts soon, but I also want to hear even more!

So, until next time, let me know what you automate, how it has been working out for you, and what you have learned throughout this process. Is there a particular tip you find most important? Or something other marketers should definitely be warned about? Share with me in the comments or tweet at @getresponse using #GRAutomationHub.

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